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BC Guide Dogs

Think Twice If You Love Your Pet!!!

Photo Credit BC/SPCA

Warm  weather is fast approaching all areas of the country  and along with it comes the risk of forest fires as well as heat exhaustion for adults, children as well as our pets.

If you’re like me you get frustrated when you venture out to the local shopping mall and see dog’s locked in cars with windows mostly closed.

Now you really have to ask yourself how much these so-called pet owners actually love their pets when they do this rather than leave them home where they should be left.

Like others, I too have a friend who takes his small dog with him cause the car has AC when he drives, but not so when he’s in the mall.

Why he does this is beyond me and as much as I know he loves his dog I only wish he might heed many requests to leave his dog home, but that’s a pipe-dream!

Let’s be honest  most dogs enjoy getting out and enjoy a long walk in one of your local parks running and meeting up with other dogs which is no different than you or I going out meeting with friends.

We get overheated and so does your pet and from what I am told by a groomer it clearly depends on age, weight, height and remember that this can take its toll on larger dogs. 

Age and weight has a huge impact on this and if you have a large dog (over 110 pounds) they are more susceptible to suffer from the heat. 

As we head to summer we want to offer up some things for you to keep in mind for keeping your dog(s) cool in the summer months. 

What You Should Look For

Dogs can be and often are more susceptible to overheating than humans simply because their bodies are not as efficient at releasing excess heat as you or I are.  

Simply put: we sweat from top to bottom to cool while dogs only do their own version of sweating through their paw pads. 

The other way they release heat from their bodies is by panting but this method of inner cooling can become overwhelming when overexposed to hot weather.

Photo Credit Flickr/Province of British Columbia

Signs A Dog Is Overheated:

  • Panting more heavily than usual 
  • Looking for shade 
  • Continuously lying down, excessive tiredness or lethargy 
  • Drinking a lot of water
  • Dark or bright red gums

Should you see signs like any of these, take immediate steps to cool your dog down and failure could lead to heat stroke. 

Signs Of Heat Stroke:

  • Frantic panting
  • Drooling
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Vomiting/diarrhea with blood in it 
  • Collapse

As heat stroke worsens, your dog may develop dilated pupils, lack of coordination, or even seizures. 

Body temperatures that reach over 103°F are warning signs of overheating and temperature’s above 106°F and above means they’re experiencing heat stroke as long as it’s not associated with any other illness,

Dogs can die from heat stroke or worse yet suffer permanent organ damage, so if you love your pet this should be taken seriously. 

Keep in mind that even if it doesn’t feel excessively hot to you, if the humidity is high, there’s a risk of overheating. Keep an eye on not only the air temperature, but the humidity, length of sun exposure, the temperature of the pavement, and water consumption. 

Avoiding Heat Stroke

The best way to keep your dog from heat stroke is to be aware of the temperature as well as your dog’s exertion level, and hydration. 

Dogs can and will dehydrate faster than you think, so make sure your pup has plenty of clean, cool water by adding ice cubes or changing it on a regular basis.

Try feeding some healthy, water-packed fruit snacks like watermelon and berries (in moderations). 

Keep your dog on a regular diet making sure you don’t overfeed them knowing that fresh food provides more natural moisture than dried kibble.

Photo Credit BC/SPCA

Don’t force them to exercise and go for a daily walk just because you need exercise and if walking is your form of exercise get a treadmill and stay home. 

Are they panting more heavily than usual? Are they drinking more water than usual when playing? If so, have your dog take a break. Make them rest in the shade until panting slows or ceases. 

If you have a rather active dog, be sure to avoid vigorous activity when it’s hot or humid and think about doing your daily exercise in early morning or late in the day when it’s much cooler.

Dogs can also be susceptible to heatstroke even if they aren’t being active. 

If you must be outside on hot days for long periods be sure your dog has access to ample shade, splash in a sprinkler or wander in a local pool.

Consider the ground temperature by putting the back of your hand on the ground and if it’s too hot for more than 5-10 seconds, it’s too hot!!!

I have been told by someone that they had to break a car window to rescue a dog locked in a hot car..

On a point of interest remember that temperatures rise much quicker inside a car than they do outside which turns the interior into an oven. 

Take NOTE:

If it’s 24°C outside, temperatures inside a car can reach 40°C in 20 minutes.

If it’s 26.5°C outside, temperatures inside a car can reach nearly 43°C in 20 minutes.

At 29.5°C outside, it takes just 10 minutes to reach 40°C inside the car.


About Sportswave



Sportswave Productions is located in Delta, BC.
Sportswave promotes/broadcasts Amateur Sports within the Lower Mainland.
He was recognized by Ravi Kahlon, BC’s MLA Minister for Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation in September 11, 2017.
In December 2022 he was Awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Pin.
Awarded Rotary Paul Harris Fellow Award for tangible for significant assistant given for the better understanding and friendly relations among peoples of the world.
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